ADA Disability Definition
How is Disability Defined?
Disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. A physical impairment is a physiological condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss that affects one or more of the following body systems: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory, speech organs, cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genito-urinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin, and endocrine.
A mental impairment is a mental or psychological disorder such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.
The ADA does not list diseases or conditions that are considered disabilities, however it does list those which are NOT included. Not covered under the ADA are homosexuality, bisexuality, transvestism, transsexualism, compulsive gambling, kleptomania, pyromania, pedophilia, exhibitionism, voyeurism, gender identity disorders not resulting from physical impairments, other sexual behavior disorders and psychoactive substance use disorders resulting from the current illegal use of drugs. The ADA does not cover individuals who are currently engaging in the illegal use of drugs.
A short-term condition such as a broken limb generally is not a disability. The test is whether the impairment substantially limits one or more major life activities and should be determined by examining the extent, duration and impact of the impairment.
The EEO considers the following as major life activities: walking, seeing, speaking, hearing, breathing, learning, performing manual tasks, caring for oneself, working, sitting, standing, lifting, reaching, thinking, concentrating, interacting with others, and sleeping.